Monday, November 21, 2016

Study Finds that Mainline Protestant Churches that Focus on the Gospel and Prayer are Growing; Those that Don’t Are in Decline

VirtueOnline summarizes an important study published this week in the Canadian publication, MacLeans, demonstrating that fidelity to the Bible and historic Christian orthodoxy is a key factor in whether a "mainline" congregation grows or declines:
An academic survey study of 2,225 churchgoers in Ontario, Canada, conducted over five years by Wilfred Laurier University revealed that people interpreting the Bible literally "helps increase church attendance."

The research, published in the Canadian publication MacLeans, notes that:
Answers in accord with traditional Christian orthodoxy—basic articles of faith (the ancient Creeds), the authority of Scripture, God’s visible working in the world today, the exclusivity of Christianity (Jesus as the door to eternal life), the importance of daily prayer—were tightly bound to growing life in individual churches. As well, conservative churches had a lower mean age among attendees (53 to 63), emphasis on youth groups, the presence of young families, wide participation by congregants (not only on Sunday mornings) and a commitment to evangelism.
Thus the study finds conservative theology mixed with innovative worship approaches helps Protestant churches grow congregations.

Among the key findings of the survey are:

Only 50% of clergy from declining churches agreed it was "very important to encourage non-Christians to become Christians", compared to 100% of clergy from growing churches.

71% of clergy from growing churches read the Bible daily compared with 19% from declining churches.

46% of people attending growing churches read the Bible once a week compared with 26% from declining churches.

93% of clergy and 83% of worshippers from growing churches agreed with the statement "Jesus rose from the dead with a real flesh-and-blood body leaving behind an empty tomb". This compared with 67% of worshippers and 56% of clergy from declining churches.

100% of clergy and 90% of worshippers agreed that "God performs miracles in answer to prayers", compared with 80% of worshippers and 44% of clergy from declining churches.

Read the rest of the summary on VirtueOnline.
Read the original article at MacLeans.

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